How to Deal with Hidden Water Damage in My Attic
For most homeowners, the attic is a rarely-visited space, often holding sections of a home's HVAC system, piles of insulation, and possibly some storage boxes. It is a space that can easily hide water damage if not checked regularly. Water damage left unrepaired may turn into a much bigger problem. In addition to damaged belongings, water damage in the attic can lead to mold growth, compromising the air quality in your home. It may also weaken the structure of your home to the point that you will need to hire roofing contractors to repair it.
When and Where to Check for Water Damage
It is especially essential to check your roof and attic space following any significant storms involving wind, rain, or hail. But don’t think that weather events are the only opportunity for water damage…Water pipes, HVAC drain pans, or other equipment in the attic could also be the culprit. Insulation materials fill attic space in many homes, and piles of insulation may hide water damage. Therefore, checking for water damage beneath insulation close to water sources or damaged roof areas is critical.
Primary causes of attic and roof leaks include:
- Poor roof maintenance
- Extreme weather conditions
- Equipment on or attached to the roof
Anything that causes a penetration in the roof makes a roof more vulnerable to water leaks and, therefore, water damage. Homeowners must check chimneys, vents, exhaust fans, solar panels, gutters, and rain guards.
Signs of Hidden Water Damage
When inspecting the attic roof, look for discoloration in any attic ceiling materials. Water stains in the attic or ceiling below the attic indicate water damage and should be inspected promptly. Dampness is a sign of water damage.
When searching for hidden leaks, check for dampness in walls, attic flooring, or insulation. Look for moisture accumulation on windows, windowsills, pipes, or attic vents. If your attic feels excessively humid, this may indicate water intrusion. Musty odors are an indication of mold growth often initiated by water damage.
Common Causes of Hidden Water Damage
Being proactive with inspections and maintenance can help prevent water damage. Some experts recommend regular roof and attic checks every three to six months.
When implementing regular roof maintenance:
- Check and clean gutters and downspouts
- Trim trees
- Check and repair roof flashing
- Properly ventilate the attic
- Check, seal and repair anything penetrating the roof, such as chimneys, vents, or exhaust fans
Maintaining attic ventilation is also critical. Ensuring all ventilation parts are free from blockage is essential to avoid excessive moisture buildup and potential water damage.
Regular maintenance is key for preventing water damage. Even a pinhole size leak can be the beginning of a much bigger problem down the road. While 100% prevention may not be possible, regular maintenance and inspections can help you detect issues early, potentially reducing the cost of repairs in the long run.
Dangers of Mold
Attic mold is a problem that can lead to severe illness. Excess moisture and heat are breeding grounds for mold growth. Both conditions are commonly found in attic spaces and increase the chances of mold growth. Therefore, it's important to check for water damage and potential mold growth routinely.
Attic mold may compromise air quality. When mold grows near or in an HVAC system, invisible mold spores may circulate throughout the air, unknowingly breathed in by family and friends. Prolonged mold exposure can cause serious health issues such as:
- Severe fatigue
- Depression and anxiety
- Skin rashes
- Eye irritation, sneezing, and coughing - similar to allergy-related symptoms
There are many other possible symptoms associated with exposure to indoor molds.
In addition, there are different types of molds. Some cause more severe health issues than others. Mold may also harm pets and weaken your home's structural integrity. Due to the many dangers associated with mold, it always requires urgent attention.
Call an Expert
If you suspect or discover attic water damage, calling an expert will give you peace of mind. Water damage is a serious concern for homeowners, and is best addressed by trained professionals, who have specialized equipment for testing, detecting, and thoroughly drying water-damaged areas.
A complete assessment of the damage and a mold inspection by professionals may prevent even more costly and dangerous issues in the future. AdvantaClean offers 24/7 emergency services for your home. AdvantaClean offers expert restoration services, including assessing and repairing water damage in the attic or anywhere else in your home. AdvantaClean can also provide mold testing, removal, remediation, and moisture control services. Contact us today if you want to learn more about our water damage, mold services, and ongoing moisture control options.